Saturday, 1 July 2017

Anticipation; The Key To Epic Success

Ten years ago in June 2007, our world as we knew it changed drastically. It was the day Steve Jobs launched the iPhone. Prior to that, cell phones were simple, low-tech devices mainly used for making phone calls. The iPhone's nearest competition, the Blackberry, didn't remotely touch the functionality of the iPhone. The iPhone was a massive game-changer which evolved into a global life essential for all ages and a massive money-maker. It is estimated that within the year 2017, Apple's iOS ecosystem is on course to generate One Trillion dollars in revenue. Yes! One trillion dollars! I'd certainly put that in the category of Epic-Success!

What is it that made this hand held device so amazingly popular and a global phenomenon? I believe it can be summed up in this one phrase; "Anticipate the needs of your target audience."

Steve Jobs once said, "Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves."

I would dare say that "Anticipating Needs" is the one essential key to epic success in business and life.

If we were to all sit together and share our exceptional service experiences, whether it be from a restaurant, a hotel, a church, a school, a job or even a relationship or marriage, we would quite possibly find one commonality; the person or organization that served you anticipated your needs before you expressed them.

Anticipating needs before they are expressed isn't a new concept. In fact, it is as ancient as ancient gets! It dates all the way back to the creation of the earth. Before God created man, He anticipated the needs that our species would have and made him a suitable and self-sustainable environment.   This is why He waited until the 6th day to create man.

Read Genesis 1 (New Living Translation)

1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.[a] 2. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
13 And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.
14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. 15 Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. 16 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.
20 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
23 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day.
24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings[b] in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth,[c] and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
27 So God created human beings[d] in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.
31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

There are unlimited lessons in this passage. Theologians and Scientists have examined this passage word for word and opened up worlds of information and life lessons from it. The one thing that I want us to see is how God created the world systematically with ANTICIPATION. He anticipated the needs of the grass and trees, of the animals and of man. His creation timeline was strategic in how he ensured that each organism had the power and the environment to survive and thrive.

God was strategic in His creation. 

So obviously you may not be a Steve Jobs level CEO  nor as grandiose as God Himself, but, you are important in your own right and can learn from this concept of anticipation. We all serve someone, somewhere.

Are you married? Probably, the most satisfying days that you have had with your spouse have been the days when they pre-thought details in planning a date or a weekend away. They carefully chose the room with the view, they informed you ahead of time on how to pack (or maybe even packed for you), they made restaurant reservations, planned your activities, and thought through every tiny detail which would make you not just happy but completely satisfied. Imagine if you don't reserve this kind of epic-satisfaction for special occasions but instead plan this level of dedication and care into your everyday relationship. When you love someone and want to make your connection last and flourish, try perfecting the art of anticipation.

This proven time-trusted method works magnificently in absolutely every industry of mankind. When you successfully anticipate and plan for the needs of others, you will never lack people to serve.

It's high time that we put aside our self-centered ambitions and prioritize planning for the needs of those we serve.

Roger Staubach said, "There are no traffic jams along the extra mile."

Here is an everyday example of how you can put to practice the art of anticipating the needs of others. The next time you serve someone a cup of tea, be the Steve Jobs or the "God" of tea service. Plan carefully and anticipate their needs. Serve the tea with a beautifully covered tray, a saucer, a tea cup, a teaspoon, a tea pot filled with just the right temperature of water, a variety of teas to choose from, a variety of sweeteners, lemon, different choices of dairy, some tea cookies, serviette paper and a smile. When you do this, I'm quite certain that whomever you are serving will come back again and will be grateful that you anticipated their needs.

Look for ways that you can go the extra mile. Think about the people you serve and imagine everything they might need. Think about the various challenges they might face and solve them before they erupt. Don't wait for them to tell you what they need before you have prepared solutions for them. Give them more information and support than they expect. Make them feel like they are the center of your universe and that you are prepared to go to any length for their comfort and business. When you do this repeatedly, you will not only improve your relationship or business' reputation but you will improve the culture of the relationships / businesses around you. You will make the world a more beautiful and efficient place to live in and you will demonstrate the heart of God. Remember the Golden rule in Matthew 7:12, " everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..." Let's get on the road to epic-success as we perfect the art of anticipation.

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